Chicago, IL-May 14, 2012, Occupy Chicago, other activists, students, and teachers gathered today for an afternoon of fun, celebrating the arts at Dyett High School, even as Rahm Emanuel’s administration threatened to close the school, after more than a year of eviscerating the schools arts programs.
“If we think there’s a chance that a building is going to close in the next five to ten years, if we think it’s unlikely it’s going to continue to be a school we’re not going to invest,” said Tim Crawley, CPS chief Operating Officer.
“Students have been denied the arts on a continued basis for over a year,” said Jackson Potter at a press conference in front of the school with a crowd of students and supporters behind him, “The city spent more than 120 million on the NATO summit, but won’t pay for art in schools?”
Rahm Emanuel’s Administration cut the school budget by 75 million dollars for the 2011-12 fiscal cycle even though the school system was facing a 720 million dollar deficit and faces a continued deficit of another 700 million.
Where did this money go? More than 40 percent of the city’s “Corporate Budget” went into the city’s oppressive police department.
“Artists are an important part of American society,” said Potter, “should the students at Dyett not have a chance to develop their artistic talents?”
Students of the school allege that members of the administration have threatened them and often expel students for minor offenses, in order to drive people out of the school.
They also allege that administrators have taken many students on field trips to other schools in order to convince them to change schools.
The school is has 100 percent minorities with as many as 30 percent of them being homeless, yet in 2008 they had one of the highest percent of students in the Chicago area that went to college.
“We want funds for arts and education, not wars and discrimination,” protesters shouted as they marched into the rally from across the street.
A protester in a graduation uniform pulled a giant ball and chain behind him.
Police watched the protest from their cars, while teens held a drum circle and played, chasing one another and throwing nontoxic powder paint at each other.